The Bathroom Scale:
Dieter's Friend or Foe?

bathroom scale

Bathroom scales
have come a long way!

You can now measure your body fat percentage from the comfort of your own home.

(While the accuracy of body fat scales can be questionable, the readings are usually consistent, which means it's a good tool to monitor relative body fat loss.)

Remember this though: body fat, unlike weight, will not change noticeably week to week. Compare readings month to month to best monitor your progress.

Some of these scales even claim to measure water weight! Check ratings before purchase.

For many, the bathroom scale (Amazon selection) is the one household device that can set the mood for the day.

(That is, if you can even muster up the courage to actually step on it, shedding every last thread of clothing, bobby pins, glasses, rings...anything that could nudge the number in an upward direction.)

If you step on it and the numbers are down...'s a great day!

But, if your weight's up - despite your fabulous nutrition and exercise routine the previous day - you think, "Why did I bother?"

Perhaps you don't even own a weight scale or maybe you smashed it long ago because you were tired of the emotional rollercoaster ride it took you on. Good for you.

If using a bathroom scale sends you into a tailspin, then it's probably not the best weight loss tool for you.

However, if you're one of those people who can disconnect your emotions from the display on the scale...

...and simply view the number as feedback...

...then a digital scale is actually a fabulous weight loss tool.

In fact...

Several well-controlled studies have found that daily weighing helps with both weight loss and prevention of weight gain. They've shown:

A bathroom scale can help you determine when and whether you need to adjust your eating behavior or activity level.

In other words, a scale - digital or otherwise - can help you catch yourself before you get too far off track! Wouldn't it be nice to get a "heads up" when you've gained two pounds, rather than after you've gained twenty?

Don't like the number you see? Don't give any power to it! Simply use the feedback you're getting to reinforce the fact that you need to make some changes in your food and/or exercise choices.

Frequent weighing can lead to an unhealthy obsession with weight and unhealthy weight-control behaviors. According to research, female teens are at particular risk and should not be encouraged to weigh themselves daily.

If you think you could get obsessive about weighing in, a scale is NOT for you.

Making your bathroom scale an effective weight loss tool: Proper use

  • Weigh yourself only once a day.
  • Weigh at the same time each day, preferably in the morning. You will almost always weigh more in the evening after a full day of fluid and food.
  • Record your weight. This way you can see trends over time. (I keep track of mine on a monthly calendar.)
  • Decide you will take action if your weight exceeds a 3-5 pound range you've set. "Action" could mean keeping a food journal, meeting with a dietitian, taking portion control measures, increasing exercise, etc.

Note: Weight fluctuations day to day or within the day are normal and reflective of variations in water weight, not body fat.

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